Metro Boko Haram is a Vicious Sideshow - Nigeria's Self-serving Elite is the Real Culprit -The Independent



Vigils will be held around the world today to mark the 100th day in captivity of over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from a school in northern Nigeria. The anniversary is a poignant reminder of the wider threat to girls' education posed by Islamic extremism. Yet the greatest threat of all comes not from gun-toting Jihadists, but from the failure of political elites to provide universal education.

No country illustrates that failure more comprehensively than Nigeria. The teenage girls abducted in Borno state, northern Nigeria were exceptional. They were part of a tiny minority making it to secondary education. That's why they were targeted by Boko Haram. Girls in Borno average less than half-a-year of schooling - and just one-in-twenty make it beyond primary school.

While much of Africa has made progress in education Nigeria is slipping backwards. Over 10 million primary school age children are out of school, two-thirds of them girls. Behind the headline numbers are some of the world's deepest education inequalities. Children from the poorest 20 per cent of households get three years of schooling, compared to over 12 years for those in the richest households. Being born a girl in northern Nigeria is a passport to illiteracy and a life of diminished opportunity.

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